After posting last night, I became very agitated and morbid. I wrote the following paragraphs, but didn’t post them, partly because I didn’t want people to think I was about to kill myself, partly because I try to avoid posting more than once in a day (trigger warning for suicide):
I can’t stop thinking about suicide. I don’t even want to kill myself, I just think I will one day, maybe in a week, maybe in fifty years. More likely in fifty years, to be honest, when my parents are dead and I’ve lost touch with most of my friends. I was just looking at suicide prevention stuff online and it was all about “If you kill yourself, your wife and kids will remember you as a corpse, they’ll have to move house because the resonances of the room where they found your body is [sic] too strong, they’ll be questioned by the police.” Nothing about what if you want to kill yourself because you’re never going to have a wife and kids.
I have to hold on to the belief that my parents care about me, but sometimes it’s hard. They don’t understand me at all and I don’t understand them at all. It’s partly neurotypical vs autistic brains, but also different personalities, values and intensities of religious belief…
I’ve been told that God loves me, but I find it hard to believe, unless God on some level loved Hitler too.
I’m not in any danger of killing myself tonight, but I know I can never be sure I’m safe forever.
The ellipsis in the second paragraph covers some stuff I’m angry with my parents about, very trivial, but I had second thoughts about putting it in the public domain again. In hindsight, it’s clearly an exaggeration to say that my parents don’t understand me at all and vice versa. They probably do understand me to some extent, but not completely or anywhere near completely (I don’t know if anyone understands anyone else completely, even people who have lived together for decades). But they don’t understand a lot about my mental health issues and autism and it’s hard to explain it to them. Likewise, we’re on different religious levels with very different outlooks on life. I don’t know how much I understand them. Our brains are wired very differently is all I can say, but that’s not terribly helpful even to me, let alone to them.
I hear a lot regarding autism that autistic brains are “wired differently”. I’ve taken to wondering what that actually means. Maybe I’m being, well, autistic about this, but brains don’t have actual wires in them. Does it mean the synapses don’t function properly or the connections between areas of the brain aren’t there?
At my well-being group today (what I was referring to as “resilience class”, but this is a more accurate name) I opened up a bit about autism, mostly because someone else there was being open about being on the spectrum and another person was talking about having brain damage from being in a car crash. I hope I opened up for the right reasons, though, as I’m not always sure that I do. It felt fairly safe, not least because there were little more than half the number of people who attended the first session. I guess that’s how these things go. I started the session very depressed and tense, but finished somewhat better, but my mood went down again on the way home; I’ve probably been up and down all day.
I do think that the group is really for people with minor depression though. The facilitators were talking about triggers and saying if something triggers you and you still feel depressed after after a couple of days, it might be an episode of depression. Someone spoke about being depressed for months on end, but I’m just permanently depressed. Out of the last sixteen years, I’ve probably been ‘not depressed’ for about two years in total, split into chunks of up to six months. So that made me feel a bit hopeless.
Someone did say something helpful about “You can’t control the first thought, but you can control the second one.” I thought that was interesting.
I looked over the notes I took at my new job last week, but I’m still worried there is so much for me still to know, even though officially I’m only contracted for another six days (over three weeks). I really worry I’m going to mess it all up, but I’d like to stay working there if I can, as a higher education library with few client-facing interactions seems to be the best working environment for me so far.
One of the papers, detailing the handling of rare books and papers, cautioned me to be careful when handling things that are “fragile with tears”. It meant “tears” as in “rips”, but I keep reading it as “crying.” I think I’m “fragile with tears”.
I’m still lonely. My experience of dating E. has taught me that there’s no point in dating anyone until I’m more financially secure, though, which could take years. I’ve decided I need to wait until I have a permanent job, even if it’s part-time. At least that shows I’m serious about my career and supporting a family, even if I can’t do it alone. If something drops from the sky, I might reconsider, but I don’t think it’s likely. Things like that rarely happen to me, although twice I’ve ended up dating or nearly dating someone who contacted me through my blog. “Did you wish really hard?” to quote Doctor Who: The Doctor’s Wife. Obviously I can’t wish hard enough.
A discussion on another blog makes me realise that, for all I talk about the frum (Orthodox Jewish) community, I’m too much on the fringes to really talk about it. I was brought up going to an Orthodox shul (synagogue), but we were traditional rather than fully observant and I didn’t become fully shomer mitzvot (keeping the commandments) until around university age. I still don’t really have many friends in the frum community, which marks me out as unusual for a frum person as they usually socialise within the community and often express the opinion that they would struggle to find common ground with non-observant Jews or non-Jews. For me, I suspect I gravitate towards non-frum people not for the reasons I would have told myself in the past (I hate false piety; the frum world doesn’t accept my interests) and more because, in terms of the mental algorithms I use to function in a neurotypical world, it’s a relief not to have to run the “don’t say anything heretical/socially unacceptable” algorithm when I’m already using a lot of energy running the “how to interact with neurotypicals” algorithm, the “how to talk about my special interests to people who don’t share them” algorithm and the “how to share appropriately about mental health” algorithm.
I was going to do a whole big thing about this article, but it would be wrong and pointless of me to do so. I just wish I knew how to have the kind of joy and purpose in my life, and in my Judaism, that the author speaks of and the belief that God loves me and believes in me. As for “committing suicide in installments”… it’s an effort not to commit suicide in one literal go, just surviving is good even if I die a little more inside each day. It’s a shame that the author of the original seven questions has died and so I can’t email him and ask.
An aside: when I started this blog, I used both ‘autism’ and ‘Asperger’s syndrome’ in posts and as tags, as I know both are used online. A few months ago I became aware that ‘Asperger’s syndrome’ has been dropped as a separate condition in the DSM-5 psychiatric guidelines and also that it now appears that Hans Asperger, the doctor after whom the condition is named, collaborated with the Nazis in his native Austria. I feel very uncomfortable calling myself someone with ‘Asperger’s’ now or ‘an Aspie’ but I wonder if calling myself ‘autistic’ or ‘on the autism spectrum’ to people who don’t know much about autism is a good idea. I suppose it summons up images of the severely autistic and non-functional (e.g. Rain Man, although I’ve never seen that film) which can lead to stereotyping or disbelief that someone as outwardly functional as I am could actually be on the spectrum, especially as I don’t have a firm diagnosis yet.
Does anyone else have any ideas? This comes up mainly at my well-being and depression support groups, which is the main place I would be open about my difficulties. I have only opened up to one or two friends who don’t read my blog about this so far and am wary of saying anything at the moment, although part of me would like to do so. I generally don’t even discuss my depression with friends who don’t read my blog, let alone the autism.